The National Composites Centre (NCC, Bristol, U.K.) reports that planning approval has been granted for the NCC Phase II extension. Based at the Bristol & Bath Science Park, the NCC will build a new facility that will see the footprint double in size, making it one of the largest research and technology centers of its type in the world. This follows the Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement in December 2012 of £28 million of government funding to enhance the capabilities and capacity of the NCC.
The plans approved this week will allow for increased training and skills development and provide a dedicated high rate composite manufacturing facility. Tom Hitchings, business development director, says, “The NCC is a huge success story and the Phase II extension will increase and enhance our capability for industrialisation of research projects. The plans include a specialist composite hydraulic press focussed on enabling the UK automotive industry to automate their composites processes. Also, there will be a wider range of facilities with bookable workshop areas as well as space for skills training and an industrial doctorate center.”
He continues, “The expanded facility will offer improved facilities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and for training, teaching and other educational activities. It also provides opportunities for provision of physical resources and a focal point for the Sector Skills Council and National Skills Academy to coordinate and support training and education in the use of composites. There will also be a major evolution in academic space for activities of the EPSRC’s Industrial Doctorate Centre and Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites, the University of Bristol’s Doctoral Training Centre in Composites and Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science.”
NCC Phase II is expected to be operational by the second quarter 2014.